NEWS AND OPINION:
A significant event in troubled times: The National Sheriffs’ Association Conference gets underway Monday in Baltimore — and it includes an unprecedented presidential forum for an audience of 3,000 sheriffs, deputies, police, jailers and representatives of the industries who support them.
There to strike a White House-worthy posture and talk some shop: Mike Huckabee, Martin O’Malley, Ben Carson and Jim Webb. A presidential straw poll follows, along with a forum titled “The Bulletproof Mind: Psychological preparation for combat, to do for the mind and the spirit what body armor does for the torso.”
The association deems the two-day event historic.
“For the first time ever, the presidential candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, will be able to speak directly to the elected sheriffs and other law enforcement officials of the nation. Sheriffs from across the country — from California to Maine — will be together in one place,” says Jonathan Thompson, executive director and CEO of the organization, founded in 1940.
The dynamics are complicated.
“In recent history, law enforcement issues have received scant attention from candidates, usually only in written policy papers and rarely through direct interaction with the law enforcement community,” the organization says in its mission statement. “The National Sheriffs’ Association has issued a challenge to the prospective candidates to make 2016 different, to engage presidential candidates in a nonpartisan dialogue concerning law enforcement issues including criminal justice, immigration and mental health in jails and provide them the opportunity to interact with law enforcement professionals, particularly America’s elected sheriffs.”
Also on the agenda: a salute to all first responders on the job in Baltimore during the recent riots. Their peers have been asked to attend the event in uniform to act in solidarity with the Baltimore Police Dept. and “all law enforcement in this nation.”
And yes, C-SPAN will be there, beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST.
PERCOLATING IN SOUTH CAROLINA
A pair of Republicans bustles around the Palmetto State on Monday. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is one of them, and his campaign has provided a particularly snappy statistic.
“Hillary Clinton‘s been in hiding — ducking reporters and vetting supporters just to join her in coffee shops and cafes, more concerned with photo ops than substantive conversation. All the while, Jeb has thrived on the campaign trail, taking over 8,000 questions over the past six months, meeting with thousands of ordinary, everyday Americans and telling his story and showing his heart,” reports Luis Fortuno, former governor of Puerto Rico, and once on the short list as a potential vice presidential candidate to Mitt Romney during the 2012 election.
Mr. Fortuno has since moved to the nation’s capital, where he is a partner in a major law firm and recently appeared at a Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner for a regional Republican group. Interesting. Bush/Fortuno has a certain ring to it, perhaps. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush will be touring a pharmaceutical company and meeting with employees in West Columbia.
Also in South Carolina on Monday: Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania stages a town hall meeting in Bluffton, followed by a visit to the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security forum at The Citadel in Charleston.
Reading of note in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that states must recognize and affirm same-sex marriages: In one of four dissents to the ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas cited the work of Heritage Foundation scholar Ryan T. Anderson, who is just putting the finishing touches on a forthcoming book titled “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” from Regnery Publishing.
Mr. Anderson says an e-book edition of “Truth Overruled” will be released July 20, with a paperback edition ready by August.
A VOICE FROM THE PAST
“Welcome to the age of vanity politics and campaigns-for-hire. What would our founders make of this nightmare? Four qualities have distinguished republican government from ancient Athens forward: the sovereignty of the people; a sense of the common good; government dedicated to the commonwealth; and resistance to corruption. Measured against the standards established for republics from ancient times, the American Republic is massively corrupt.”
— former Democratic presidential hopeful Gary Hart, in his new book “The Republic of Conscience,” to be published Wednesday by Blue Rider Press; as previewed in Time magazine.
A LONE STAR POKE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appears to be following in his predecessor’s footsteps. Like Rick Perry before him, he is adopting an aggressively proactive outreach to attract business to the Lone Star State. A tempting target: the Granite State, following Gov. Maggie Hassan‘s veto of the state budget, already passed in both houses of the New Hampshire legislature and loaded with significant reductions in the state’s business profits tax and business enterprise tax to benefit job creators.
“Texas is wide open for New Hampshire businesses looking to escape the restrictive tax burdens solidified by Governor Hassan’s unfortunate veto of the state budget. I welcome the opportunity to meet with any company considering a move to our great state,” says Mr. Abbott, who adds that his state is cutting business franchise tax by 25 percent and that Texas has no corporate income tax, no individual income tax and no state property tax.
“Gov. Abbott’s invitation to New Hampshire businesses to relocate to Texas is unfortunate but predictable. Gov. Hassan’s irresponsible budget veto and her refusal to make New Hampshire’s tax structure competitive has invited governors of other states to take New Hampshire jobs. Instead of working to restore the New Hampshire advantage, Gov. Hassan is working to undermine it and make New Hampshire less competitive,” says New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn, who notes that Texas ranks second on a CNBC list of the nation’s most business-friendly states, while her own state is 30th.
POLL DU JOUR
• 197.9 million: the current “non-Hispanic white alone” population in the U.S., up by 94,000 since 2013, or 0.05 percent.
• 55.4 million: the current Hispanic population in the U.S., up by 1.2 million since 2013, or 2.1 percent.
• 45.7 million: the current black population in the U.S., up by 578,000 since 2013, or 1.3 percent.
• 20.3 million: the current Asian population in the U.S., up by 631,000 since 2013, or 3.2 percent.
• 6.5 million: the current American Indian and Alaska Native population in the U.S., up by 93,000 since 2013, or 1.4 percent.
• 1.5 million: the current Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population in the U.S., up by 33,000 since 2013, or 2.3 percent.
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau’s “A More Diverse Nation” report, released Friday; it is subtitled, “For the first time, more than 50 percent of children under age 5 are minorities.”
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